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Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft

Ed. by Baum, Manfred / Dörflinger, Bernd / Klemme, Heiner F.

CiteScore 2018: 0.37

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.193
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.972

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Volume 110, Issue 2


A Funeral March for Those Drowning in Shallow Ponds?

Imperfect Duties and Emergencies

Dr. Martin Sticker
Published Online: 2019-06-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kant-2019-0001


I discuss the problem that Kant’s ethics seems to be incapable of capturing our strong intuition that emergencies create a context for actions that is very different from other cases of helping and from other opportunities to further obligatory ends. I argue that if we pay attention to how Kant grounds beneficence we see that distress and emergency function as constitutive concerns. They are vital to establishing the duty of beneficence in the first place, and they also guide the application of duties to specific cases. Kant’s conception of imperfect duties to others, when understood correctly, offers a way to understand why emergencies are morally important, but also why other factors have a place in our moral reasoning.

Keywords: Imperfect Duties; Beneficence; Emergency; Easy Rescue Cases


    Kant translations follow the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant, edited by P. Guyer and A. W. Wood.

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About the article

Published Online: 2019-06-06

Published in Print: 2019-06-01

Citation Information: Kant-Studien, Volume 110, Issue 2, Pages 236–255, ISSN (Online) 1613-1134, ISSN (Print) 0022-8877, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kant-2019-0001.

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